Tribal council of Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians approves marriage statute

UPDATED 3/15: On Friday morning, the chairman for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians approved the resolution, and a Michigan couple - Tim LaCroix and Gene Barfield - became the first couple from the tribe to marry. Read more HERE

This week, the tribal council of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, based in Michigan, approved a statute that would extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in the tribe. The measure now goes before Chairman Dexter McNamara, who can sign or veto the legislation.

Tribal nations based geographically in the United States operate with their own constitutions, court systems, and governments. Last year, when discussion of the marriage stattute began in the tribe, then-chairman Ken Harrington explained, "It's our right to express equality. In my mind, we're all equal in our creator's eye." 

If the measure is approved, the Little Traverse Bay Bands would become the third tribal nation to respect and perform marriages for same-sex couples. In 2009, the Coquille Tribe in North Bend, OR began respecting and performing marriages between same-sex couples, and in 2011, the Suquamish Tribe in WA extended the freedom to marry to same-sex couples, too.

Learn more about why marriage matters to Native Americans HERE.